Sunday, February 28, 2010
Well, we made it...to the end of February even without that one extra day that would have made it a leap year. Today the Olympic hockey team (featuring a player from Cherry Hill, NJ) received the silver medal losing in overtime to Canada, but what an extraordinary game those young men played. Today my mom's computer went down...my old one that I think I had for about five years and she's had for three. She never learned how to back things up, so I'm hoping we can at least save the word documents she has. Lucky enough to have another lap top I set up for her, but now need to set up the printer as well. Today is Sunday, and hopefully, we will get back into a routine of school and good eating starting tomorrow. Four days off just sets off every "if it's a snow day, let's eat whatever" attitude. Today is the day I finished another month of my 365 photos...a record for me...so anything after this is such a bonus. Today is the day that marks two months without soda of any kind. A good thing.
And, today is the day I notice my bulbs starting to come up. Through the mud, through the snow, these resilient little plants are poking their stems up through the ground. THEY know spring is coming... I just hope someone has told Mother Nature that message as well.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
The world waited and watched today as an 8.8 earthquake in Chilie caused what could have been a devastating tsunami in Hawaii this afternoon. The hour of the predicted tsunami on the Hilo coast as well as in Oahu, came and went and, although thousands were evacuated from low lying areas, no harm came to anyone. The Hawaiian people practice this drill again and again like we practice fire drills. Last summer we visited the Tsunami Museum and saw the devastation the last one brought the island. I was so happy that they were spared this time.
Breaking away from a day of news and Olympics, I went to see the local high school production of The Wizard of Oz to see if I could get any ideas for my own production in April. The kids did a nice job and I did come away with some staging tips, but I have to say our Dorothys (we have two) are almost as good as theirs and our lion is JUST as good. I look forward to working with the kids again this week. But, no matter how good or bad the shows are, drama is something that is just so good for kids. It gives kids an outlet other than sports where they can feel accepted and have fun. For those who ARE good in sports and participate in a show, it fosters more team work and acceptance of others. I won't think about cutting anyone from our shows...it just isn't right. When our schools work on having students of all levels succeed, why would we even think of cutting a child from an activity. Just a thought.
Friday, February 26, 2010
I don't know if it's because we had another snow day today or the Flower Show is opening in Philadelphia next week, but when I was in the Christmas Tree Shop today and saw these I just had to buy them. It gives me hope that spring is on the way. I immediately planted the basil kit (on the left) and inserted a water bulb (I'm notorious for forgetting to water). The other things will be put away until I am sure they are finished with the construction in my yard. Phlox is the ONLY thing that ever grew in my front and I'm not sure how much construction, mud, and snow has ruined what I already have.
It's not that I don't love winter...truth be told I do, and if we had a few more snow storms in March, I won't be upset, but once Easter comes, that's it. It's spring time for me which means a new beginning, an awakening. And maybe, just maybe, some of these plants will actually make it.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
This isn't actually a photo but it is a video. To see it, clic on the words, Winter February above. It was processed on flixtime, a new program I learned about on Plurk. Good thing, too, because I am a bit concerned that I can't find my external drive right now...I mean the computer isn't reading it. I hope to take my own advice and reboot to help it be rediscovered.
Today we had a snow day...a bad call on the district's part as it didn't even stick to the ground, but it gave me time to discover this program. Now it IS snowing and sticking and the wind is howling. SO tomorrow is up in the air. Next week we have an in-service, so that would mean another four day week. And February isn't even over yet!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The phone rang in my classroom just as we were finishing up reading. "There's a guy who is going to put a hammer through your wall," my mom informed me. Just what someone wants to hear with nineteen kids getting ready to go to gym.
"Give me five minutes," I begged. "Let me call you back."
The outside of my house is being sided...not resided as this community was not sided to begin with, so for the past few months we have put up with reconstruction on the outside. On the inside of my house, there is a wall bowing out. It's in the stairway, leading to the second floor, and has a cathedral ceiling. I didn't know if it was structural or termites, but the management company was sending someone over to find out, but if someone is going to put a hole in that wall to find out WHY, that means replastering and hiring someone to repaint that wall. It's not that this is the first time I have complained about this, but it's the first time the managment company has sent someone over to see it. Of course it's during the construction time OUTSIDE the house as well.
What I liked about this was that my mom is such a great person. She had the tough and rough construction guys eating out of her hands. They are going to have to repair and repaint at their expense. What I like even better....I don't have to deal with it. What I LOVE about it is that my parents are there to help me out. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I love zwieback crackers, or toast, or whatever the classification is. When Nabisco stopped making it earlier this year (the one you find in the baby aisle), I wrote to the company but didn't get a response. Last week I went to the Christmas Tree Store and they had this type, which was cheaper and just as good. I don't know, there's just something about this crunchy toast paired with cheese or tuna fish that is so good. I'm sure the next time I go to to the CTS, these will be gone and I'll start my hunt again, but for now, they are a good substitute.
Monday, February 22, 2010
100 days ago nineteen students walked into my room. We didn't know each other; they were a bit afraid of all the"scary"things they had heard about me. I was a bit apprehensive of the"second graders" I had heard about, plus this was my firs year in third grade without an assistant. Still 100 days later, we have made it into a tight knit group who care and protect each other. They have gone from "I don't know how to write cursive" to putting my handwriting to shame." They have gone from not using a computer to begging to get the mobile lab every day. There have been tears, fears, some let downs on both sides, but still each day these amazing students come back. Day after day. I walk into the room and their faces light up with a "Hi, Miss Kasse" like they are happy to see me. They tell me that I am intelligent, pretty (thank goodness for a nine year old eyes), and love to see me smiling at them each morning. I have pushed them farther than they or I thought they could go. We have laughed at 100 jokes, cried at the loss of pets, grandparents, friends. I have met their amazing parents and marvel at the way we are all working towards the same goal...the best for their child.
Today we celebrated by each person bringing in 100 of "something" and distributing it to the rest of the class. Paper, paper clips, mints, Cherrios, even pasta were given out in our celebration.
100 days doesn't seem very long in the scheme of things (considering I've been teaching for more than 4, 500 days in my life), but even so, just the thought of only having this class for 80 more days brings a twinge of sadness to me. The one good thing is that they will be in fourth grade, and I'll get to see them for at least 360 days after they leave me.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be part of the DEN (Discovery Education Network) team in Hershey, PA, to help where I could, sit in on a few sessions, and help present at 'recess'. My ride TO Hershey was fairly easy, although I did make a few wrong turns. I arrived before lunch and spent that with Patti and Meg, going to Fudruckers, a restaurant I haven't been to in a long time. After that we helped by stuffing folders, putting together name badges, and, along with lots of other dedicated DEN members, get the day ready for the session on Sunday. After that I tried to go to the bank across the street, but the ATM was out of money (?). Upon returning to the hotel, I lost my parking space and had to park in another lot. When I entered the hotel, I was totally lost for at least fifteen minutes, but have to say I got a good workout in walking the halls. After that, we were all treated to a wonderful dinner at the Lodge. What fun meeting new PA and NJ Leadership Council people and catching up with Matt M, Steve D and meeting Whitney, all DEN leaders. Turning in, although not really sleeping, knowing I had to be up at 6 in order to go to work at 7. Back to the conference room (which I swear was as far away as it could), I hope I was helpful setting up and meeting and greeting people for the the first session. I bought so much "stuff" that I decided to move my car during the first session which meant MORE walking, but this time after I packed the car, I moved it closer to the entrance. Back to a session, lunch, and to present at recess. Of course my laptop wasn't working to its fullest (it's old and I know I need a new one), but my netbook was in my car, so OUT to the car, again, about 1/4 mile away! Moved it closer this time. The netbook worked, recess was great. I loved talking to people and meeting new ones. Then I had a session about making videos with kids, which I already do, then to give out prizes and I actually WON a microsope (toy one but the kids will like it). Then it was time to leave. When I got to the car I realized I couldn't find my phone. Back into the hotel (more walking) and no one had seen it. Robin helped by going to my car to see if it was there, and of course it was, inside the cover for the netbook. Sigh...I was exhausted. Luckily, the drive home was so easy (three roads to get home from Hershey!), no traffic and I was home before it was too dark. A quick shower, checked things here, and I'm ready to bed. I won't find a kiss on my pillow, but I sure will have "sweet" dreams.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
If it's February it must be HERSHEY time...and so it is...Discovery's FREE pre-conference before PETE&C, the technology convention for educators from PA. I'm an interloper, being from NJ but as part of the Leadership Council if I can help, I do, so this time I can help by setting up and presenting at a recess session. I pay my own hotel room, but it's a fun way to reconnect with friends and people I have met over the years in Silver Spring, MD. It's also very nice of Matt M and the gang to invited us out to dinner at the Hershey Lodge, which is where I was tonight. Last year was my first year and that was my first chocolate martini so to celebrate the anniversary, I did it again. But the food and drink were secondary to the lively conversation, magic tricks and even a little fire that went on. So, even though I give of myself this weekend, I also get a whole lot back.
Friday, February 19, 2010
I knew it as soon as the words were out of my mouth. "Kids, bring your notebooks over to the rug so we can start reading." I looked up to see nine students bringing their laptops to the reading area. No this is not what I meant, I meant...as they always remind me...to say binders...but these kids were doing research and just figured I wanted to see what they had already added to their notebookzoho.com sites. I laughed to myself thinking I wish my principal could see this. She's always saying the kids are too young to do these things (they are in third grade). Little does she know one of my students was bored last night so he made a power point presentation of the biography he was writing for Black History month. Another sent his script to me through the school e-mails.
"If you save it to the S drive, Miss Kasse, I can then copy and save it to my H drive." Nine years old. NINE! They have talks about technology all the time. They e-mail, they word process, they audio record, they ARE the "T" generation (technology) Even though they are still learning their times tables, learning to write in cursive (because their teacher is a dinosaur and proud of it), these kids are not only digital natives, they are the digital babies born of this generation. And I am proud to be their teacher guiding them along the way.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
There's a difference between reading about the tragedy that happened in Haiti and LIVING that tragedy. Mr. Mayer, parent of my third grade student, Christina, LIVED it in a way very few of us can. Mr. Mayer came to school today to tell us of his experience working as a coordinator of the rescue mission in Haiti. Traveling to Georgia on his first leg, he was getting ready to coordinate the teams who work with the Red Cross and the United Nations. After leaving Georgia, by a small plane, they headed for Port au Prince. In flight, the plane took a nosedive, sending a flight attendant to the ceiling and oxygen masks to drop from the ceiling. A quick detour to Turks Caicos set the plane down safely and people regained their nerve. That was just the beginning as his team finally landed in Haiti just two days after the devastating earthquake.
Put to work quickly, tents were erected, supplies were organized, and even the boy and girl scouts of the island came together to do what they could. Looting, crime, mayhem as food and medicines got to people. Young children dying who could NOT get medicine fast enough. Young children being kidnapped by those who take advantage of such situations and the young...baby and girl trafficing happening before it could be stopped...but was, the reason why the ten people were arrested so quickly although they were NOT part of the "other" group.
Mr. Mayer was gone from Christina and his family for three weeks, but in those three weeks, he made a difference. Something everyone can do each day of their lives...if they care like Mr. Mayer does.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I highly recommend this revue for any woman...and bring your daughters who are over 16. They may not get all the songs, but the message of loving yourself and knowing you ARE good enough...messages young women need to hear over and over...the message of RESPECT...should be heard by more.
Running through April at the Society Hill Theater. Check Funsavers.com Philadelphia for discount tickets.
Review of the restaurant forthcoming.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Robin Williams once said,“Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"” Well, I AM READY TO PARTY!!!!
Monday, February 15, 2010
THIS TIES my posts for last year! Which means I'll have succeed in making a goal to get past where I was last year. It's always good to do better.
This day I could take another picture of the construction outside my house...I COULD take another picture of snow (yes, it's snowing again, but softly and not sticking), but what the heck, let's go with the cute dog/dad picture. I want to take as many pictures of my family as I can, and am making a point of posting at least one a month of each person...including myself if I can. So, here is my dad and his FAVORITE...Sunny saluting Presidents' Day 2010.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
It's Valentine's Day and usually that means I would be taking a picture of a nice card, some chocolate, or even a gift given to me by someone...but not this year. I did get some very nice things from my students, but Dad forgot this year (the first time, but he's forgetting things now, so I can't blame him...although it's hard since this is the first time it has happened). I bought things to him, something for Mom, and a gift certificate for my brother, but nothing in return...except that I HAVE them...and that is a GIFT...that many people would give their right arm for...the fact that their family is still intact, nearby and I can see them whenever I want. So the gift, this year, is in the giving.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I know, I know...this picture was not taken by me (I'll add one that was) but this picture is just TOO important not to share. This is the troop that we adopted in Iraq this year. It is Patrick's cousin's troop. His grandmother helped us out with the mailings at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now Valentine's Day. The happiest thing...they are coming HOME! In fact they are on their way now. That is so much more important than the icy color my hair turned out today or the fact that someone important to me didn't call until 5 to see if I wanted to go out to dinner TONIGHT! Putting into perspective that no not one soldier in this troop was hurt or died while they were there...that's what's important. So, for today...this is THE picture of the day.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
It was a nice day...the morning was filled with making CDs for the cast of The Wizard of Oz...don't know if I made enough, but I'll find out tomorrow. Shoveling was harder today than yesterday and there was more water and ice, but the cars were moving. There is a ton of snow in our parking lot blocking lots of parking spaces, but until the construction equipment and people go to work during the day, we can't get rid of it.
I'm an hour late,but the fact that I can even post this picture is a tribute to the men and women who work at PSE&G, my electric company. I have been without electricity for about seven hours. It was interesting and a wake up call. I DID have a battery powered radio and batteries to keep it running. I found out that the ALL News All the Time radio station...doesn't really tell you anything new in seven hours. Like WHY you don't have power and when you'll get it back. I did get to listen to the 76ers lose (that isn't new) and the Flyers win in overtime (a good thing). I had flashbacks to when I was a kid reading with a flashlight under the covers...and I miss my mom yelling at me to turn it off and go to sleep. She called enough times to make sure I was okay...but it's not the same. I found out my laptop battery is terrible and I need to keep my netbook charged at all times. My cell phone would have survived the night, but I kept looking at it for time and e-mails. And to charge it I would have had to gone to my car.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
So...it was one of those days. Woke up a bit later as I had a meeting in Moorestown, NJ, as part of a Medford Educational team. It was very interesting and more details to come, but I had such fun there. Then off to school where my kids were wonderful. Mrs. Freidberg came in to thank the kids for the great job they did with her nephew's troop in Iraq...sending them Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now Valentines. She gave each of the kids a gift. Daniel was so cute. He told me his parents have taught him that if he does something nice for someone, he shouldn't take a thank you gift. I told him this was special because HE was special.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Valentine’s Day is special and this year my class did a wonderful activity of interviewing each staff member in our school. After that they typed up the mini biographies of the teachers and printed them using http://www.festisite.com for the center of the Valentines. Then they made them, some working with doilies for the first time, and hung them on the bulletin board. Stickers and roses added a three dimensional touch. This is something the staff looks forward to each year. There are over fifty staff members so this was a huge undertaking. The kids were so proud to have started with nothing and now have this to show. Plus, they know more of the staff than they did last month. Even though this takes up time in the classroom, I feel the social, writing, and organizational skills far outweigh the time lost.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The day after the storm...Hammered....is what the headlines in the Courier said today, and one has to agree. The total inches for Cherry Hill turned out to be something like 24.3 which makes it the second biggest snow storm in history.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
AS predicted, it snowed...and snowed...and snowed. It finally stopped around 4:00. By that time I had been outside four times to get my car uncovered. Talk about a workout. I may be sore tomorrow, but it felt good at the time. It especially felt good to be wearing a size 12 jeans that were a little lose as well. Next goal...sz 10. I won't wear jeans unless it's a size 12 or less and even 12 is too much for me, I know. ANYWAY...after shoveling, there was no way to get OUT of the development, so spent the rest of the day inside. I don't have a clue of what the rest of the roads look like, but I'm sure to find out tomorrow.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Well, it DID start snowing about two hours ago and already the ground is pretty well covered, and it's coming down fast and furiously. Which means I'll get to stay inside all day tomorrow (except for the shoveling out). That's a GOOD thing as a cold has really taken hold of my body...my eyes are watering, I'm sneezing, the whole nine yards. Stopping into CVS tonight before going out to dinner, the pharmacist suggested I take Alka Seltzer. I THOUGHT I had picked up the pills,but didn't, so I'm enjoying my water with AS. Now my eyes are at half mast and I'm ready to hit the bed and not wake up until I have to.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Snow! Snow! Snow! It's in the air, it's in the voices of my students, it's in the crowded aisles of the supermarket, which, I am happy to say, I DID NOT succumb to, it's all over the tv. We're having a blizzard...we're having 3 inches....it will start tomorrow around 3...it will start tomorrow at noon. Hey, as long as I have electricity and water this weekend, and maybe a snow day on Monday, I'll be one happy camper. I wanted to post these pictures of predictions, though, to see just whose prediction comes true.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
This was the first week of drama. It was different this year because the kids already knew their parts before winter vacation so anyone who wanted to it before today had their chance. Not many did. This week we read through the script. It took three days to get through it, but it was so great. In the morning, I have singing practice with some of the kids for about ten minutes so they can hear the songs and get to know what they have to do. The best, though, is to watch them become a “team.” They sit in a horse shoe shape every day, so no one’s back is to another, read with their acting partner, and help each other learn lines and meet new people. It’s fun to watch the interaction between the fourth and fifth graders. Our school is pretty close and most of these kids already know each other, but this is such a special place for more than 70 kids to gather together knowing that they are doing what they want to do. Kirby Pucket wrote, “Find out what your gift or talent is and do it.” For these kids it’s acting, singing and dancing. Nothing wrong with that.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Each day, we say pledges. One of them is from Kirby Puckett's Be the Best You Can Be....and one of those thirteen is try new things. Well, today in geometry I wanted to show kids how to use shapes to draw. Now, I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. I watch ArtSnack and try, but it's just not my thing. Still, I wanted the students to see that shapes, triangles, circles, rectangles, and others are not things to be afraid of or boring, so I took out the drawing book and together we drew this dog. Yes, it IS a dog, not a cow (stop laughing). The kids know that when I draw, that's the one of the times they can laugh at me (okay, you can laugh) but it also shows me taking a risk at something I'm not good at. By doing so, I hope they will take a risk in their lives whether it be math or something more serious. So, go and try something new. You may not be the best, you may not even be second best, but at least you tried and laughed and shared...and what's better than that?
Monday, February 1, 2010
MADE it to February 2010. And it's a LEAP YEAR. Always good sign when one makes it to the next month. Not to say it was error free. The script I thought was sent to the secretary to run off for after school drama today never got to her. Thanks to my great parents (my OWN Mom and Dad), they brought it down to school and it was set to give to the kids who were so excited to start drama once again. But other than that, the day went pretty well. This week we are working on Valentines for our soldiers in Iraq, our pen pals, and the staff of Taunton Forge. If I can get all of those done, and make it through geometry, I'll be happy.